To relieve IT burnout, invest in workflow automation

IT teams have worked hard to keep us all productive—but it’s led to high burnout. Here’s how automation can promote digital wellness among IT workers.

ARTICLE | 4m read
April 19, 2022

In our new age of hybrid work, we expect all our technology to work perfectly whenever we access it, no matter the time, location, or device. It’s easy to take this always-on performance for granted, and if our workplace technology doesn’t work, it’s also easy to get impatient with the IT teams charged with supporting it. But behind every IT support ticket is a human being who has put in lots of time and energy just to keep us productive—and many of these IT experts are facing significant burnout.

This burnout was especially acute during the height of the pandemic, as 77 percent of IT teams reported high stress levels in 2020. However, a more recent survey of IT leaders also reported 70 percent of their teams are working extra hours. The work of your IT experts has always been important, but now that so many employees work remotely, IT teams have become mission-critical. It’s time to take prolonged IT burnout seriously, and automation technology offers a lot of potential to improve team well-being.

How high demand on IT is driving burnout and turnover

To enable an enterprise-wide transition to hybrid work, IT teams took a lot of additional complexity. From optimizing and securing wide area networks to managing remote access on numerous devices to making cloud apps available wherever employees choose to work, your IT experts have gone above and beyond in the last several months. This makes it little surprise that IT leaders say 50 percent of their employees are displaying lower energy levels or decreased productivity due to increased demand on IT, and 56 percent of these IT leaders say they’re experiencing high turnover.

It’s clear IT departments deserve our gratitude, but a simple “thank you” will not erase their piled up stress. Company leaders and managers should prioritize efforts to listen and empathize with their in-demand IT experts, and efforts to promote mental wellness are always helpful. However, these gestures will not resolve the mountains of tickets and tasks that we still need our burnt out IT teams to take on. It is vital that we both empower IT to prioritize their most important work while relieving them of tedious and repetitive tasks.

The potential of automation to simplify IT workloads and reduce stress

Complexity is one of the biggest drivers of IT burnout, with 76% of CIOs saying complexity is making it impossible to efficiently manage their digital portfolios. This in mind, we can alleviate IT burnout by adopting solutions that both simplify and automate the most common and repeatable parts of IT work. 39 percent of IT leaders agree that investment in systems to simplify and automate IT workloads would improve team well-being.

Here’s how this automation would work in practice. Take the process of onboarding a new hybrid employee, which typically follows a series of important but repetitive steps like setting up their company laptops and enabling secure remote access to the enterprise network. With the right device management and secure access solutions, IT can automate these routine tasks without hindering security or slowing down the process—all while sparing an IT professional from the tedium of a task she’s done hundreds of times.

How automation can enable more strategic and valuable IT work

The value of automation to relieve IT staff from repetitive tasks goes beyond reducing burnout. Automation can also free up IT experts to focus on strategic work that is not only more valuable to your organization but also more rewarding for them to work on. Priorities that IT leaders have seen their teams take on in the last year include implementation of new solutions, (64 percent), vendor evaluation and purchasing (63 percent), and access provisioning for productivity technology (56 percent).

As always, it’s important to balance which tasks can be automated with which tasks require expert focus. Some of the aforementioned IT initiatives like access provisioning are excellent candidates for automation, while vendor evaluation deserves your experts’ full consideration. One excellent starting place for leveraging automation to simplify IT workflows is adopting the right DaaS solution. Above all, remember that focusing your IT experts on your most valuable and strategic work shows them that you value both their contributions as employees and their time—preventing burnout and helping retention.